10 things to see in:


10 things to see in Siena

The places not to be missed in the city of the Palio

There are the contrade, the wonderful vineyards and the Palio. However, locals say that the things to see in Siena never end. Here are the first 10 attractions not to be missed, some historical, artistic charming places that will make you want to go back as soon as possible.

The oldest part of Siena, lying within the protecting walls of the 1300s, is divided into “Thirds” (Terzi): the Third of Camollìa, the City Third and the Third fo Saint Martin – each of them hosts different contrade and different landmarks.

Remember that the historical centre of the city is a traffic-free area. Therefore in order to follow this itinerary of 10 things to see in Siena you will have to walk around and get lost in its streets… but do not worry: visiting it on foot is one of the best ways to visit and discover the city. 

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Among the first things to visit in Siena there is, without any doubt, the place that twice a year hosts the famous Palio: Piazza del Campo. Unique for its typical and original shell shape, it is the ancient heart of the city, where all the old streets led. In Pi azza del Campo stand the imposing Palazzo Comunale (hosting the Civic Museum), the Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Sansedoni. Finally, in its highest point, lies the Fonte Gaia.

What to see in Siena: Siena’s Cathedral

Dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta (Holy Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption) the Cathedral fascinates for its Gothic-Romanic style, the white and dark green marble, the columns, frescoes,the inlaid floors and the masterpieces by Michelangelo, Donatello and Pinturicchio.After visiting the Baptistery, Piccolomini’s Library and the Crypt, do not miss to go up to the panoramic “facciatone”, from where you will be able to enjoy a wonderful view on Siena’s roofs and on the Torre del Mangia.

What to see in Siena: Medici Fortress

Known as well as the Fort of Saint Barbara and characterized by imposing cuneiform ramparts on its corners, it was built in 1500 on the orders of Cosimo De Medici. Demilitarized at the end of the eighteenth century, today it is a green area and a meeting point for students and artists. It hosts the famous Enoteca Italiana, as well as concerts and live events throughout the year.

What to see in Siena: Siena’s Pinacoteca

Being the most important museum of the city, the Pinacoteca Nazionale could not but be among the top things to visit in Siena. Inaugurated in 1932, it guards the masterpieces of the Sienese School made by Buoninsegna, Bartolo di Fredi, Simone Martini, the Lorenzetti brothers and many other artists, who lived between the thirteenth and the seventeenth century. The Pinacoteca of Siena is housed in the buildings Brigidi and Buonsignori, in Via San Pietro.

What to see in Siena: Basilica of San Domenico

Located in the neighborhoodwith the same name, in a panoramic place with a wonderful view over the Cathedral and the Torre of the Mangia, it is one of the biggest and most important in Siena. The Basilica of San Domenico has been a venue for believers and pilgrims since the 1300s because it guards the remains of Saint Catherine of Siena, patroness of Italy.

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What to see in Siena: Santa Maria della Scala

A vast artistic patrimony as wells as interesting temporary exhibitions are waiting for you in one of the most ancient hospitals in Europe. It has 4 floors, of which only 3 are accessible, and hosts the National Archeological Museum of Siena. Built in the 1800s, it is located in front of the Duomo.

What to see in Siena: The Museum of the Metropolitan Opera of the Cathedral

Located in the historical centre next to the Cathedral, the Museum of the Metropolitan Opera hosts, among the most famous artworks, the Maestà by Duccio Buoninsegna (1308-1310). The collection is made up by tapestries, boards and triptychs of painters and artists who lived between the 1200s and the 1600s. In order to visit it you can buy a ticket which will also give you access to the Duomo.

What to see in Siena: Rocca Salimbeni

Rocca Salimbeni houses the main office of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the most ancient bank in the world. Located close to Banchi di Sopra, in Siena’s main street, it offers to the visitors a guided tour of the undergrounds of the bank.

What to see in Siena: Saint Catherine’s Sanctuary

It is the birth place of Saint Catherine and the old house of her family: the Benincasa. Today it is a sanctuary with a church, a place of great charm, located on the Costa of Sant’Antonio. You can visit the room of the Saint, the oratorio and walk through the porches.

What to see in Siena: Orto de’ Pecci

It is one of the greenest area of the city of Siena: a number of gardens, a theatre, relax areas, big spaces which host concerts and a lot of beautiful places to make pictures of. L’Orto de’ Pecci is managed by a cooperative company and houses a Trattoria and an interesting medieval garden. You should not miss the important musical events sponsored by the Accademia Chigiana, among which the Siena Jazz Festival and a number of initiatives for adults and children, organized by the cooperative.

10 things to do in Siena

  • Stroll around the historical centre of Siena

  • Living the Palio in Contrada

  • Not only monuments: the Sienese countryside

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